E Ratings update: League 2, 8 Apr 2017

Here is the latest update of the season to the E Ratings and how they predict the rest of the season will pan out. The rating system is explained here, but in a nutshell it’s based on the combined quality of chances that clubs create and allow, rather than their results.

The attack rating broadly equates to how many goals’ worth of chances a team would create against an average opponent (so higher is better), with the defence rating equivalent to the chances they’d be expected to allow (so lower is better). The overall rating is the difference between the two – effectively the average expected goal difference per match – so a positive number is good and a negative one is bad.

The graphic below lists each club in descending order of their overall E Rating and shows how this – along with their individual attack and defence ratings – has changed over the past 30 league matches. The red and green arrows indicate how the overall rankings have moved in the past month and the numbers in brackets show the ranks for each team’s attack and defence ratings.

You can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here.

Two of the runaway top three – Portsmouth and Doncaster – look to have deserved their likely promotion but the model is a bit surprised by Plymouth, whose displays have been listing for some time without affecting results all that much.

Where there’s been some vindication for the model lately is the case of Accrington, who are continuing their recovery from a dire mid-season run towards a league position more reflective of their underlying quality.

Predicting the rest of the season

Below I’ve used each club’s current ratings and those of their remaining opponents to predict how the rest of the season could play out. Each of the remaining fixtures has been simulated thousands of times, using the current E Ratings to generate probabilities for where each club will finish.

This graphic shows the cumulative probability of where each club could end up, in descending order of average points won. You can think of the ordering of the teams down the left hand side as a “best guess” of the final league table, with the coloured bars showing the relative likelihood of each club ending up in a certain section of the table:

We know that Doncaster are guaranteed to return to League 1 now, and it shouldn’t be long before Plymouth and Portsmouth assure their own ascent back into the third tier.

However the play-off race looks set to entertain us for a while yet, with all of the contenders having suffered recent setbacks. The four teams below Luton all lost this weekend, which has provided plenty of hope to a crowded chasing pack.

At the bottom, another defeat for Leyton Orient makes relegation look a near-certainty – they’re 10 points from safety with 15 to play for – but Newport are looking increasingly capable of clawing their way to safety. A win at Exeter nudges their chances of dropping back into the National League back down towards 50%, with Hartlepool looking catchable after a draw at Morecambe.